Student working on a research project.


The present study proposes to examine the hypothesis that schizophrenia is associated with low penetrance but common, functional variations in a number of susceptibility genes. These multiple genes of small to moderate effect confer compounding risk through interaction with each other and may be related to specific aspects of the disease, such as positive or negative symptoms. In this study, we will focus on genetic association studies comparing the distribution of allelic frequencies of candidate genes in schizophrenia patients and controls and examine the association of positive and negative symptoms with specific alleles. Candidate genes have been selected on the basis of previous research that points to specific receptors, enzymes or other molecules that might be involved in the etiopathogenesis of SCZ, the clinical peculiarities of the disease, and genes that have been identified as related to controlling neurodevelopmental processes. From a methodological perspective, the initial goal of this study will be to conduct DNA assays and structured interviews with 100 schizophrenic patients from the VA Healthcare System and 100 matched controls. Many of the specific candidate genes can be examined with this sample size; however other candidate genes, particularly those related to different aspects of the disease, will require a much larger sample size of schizophrenics. Hence, we plan to continue to collect patients on an ongoing basis and to eventually recruit patients from other hospitals (with further IRB approval). We will investigate the variants of polymorphisms in the susceptibility genes for schizophrenia, to analyze their role in the liability to develop neuropsychiatric disorders and to determine their role in response to medication.

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Biological Sciences
Compensation: Academic Credit, Salary / Stipend, Volunteer, Work Study
Available: Fall, Spring, Summer


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Junzhe Xu, Md
Department: Psychiatry
Phone: (716)725-3954